ON AND OFF THE AIR
* So where's Lucy been among all the nightly reruns? Nick at Nite, cable's popular TV preservation service, rectifies an oversight tonight by adding "The Lucy Show" to the nightly lineup, at 11 o'clock Monday through Friday.
This is the 1962-68 series that ran on CBS, with Lucille Ball, Vivian Vance and Gale Gordon (after the first season), but not Desi Arnaz and William Frawley.
Lucy and Desi had dissolved their marriage by then, of course. In fact, Lucy had bought out her former husband's interest in Desilu Studios. And when "The Lucy Show" began, Frawley was a fixture as Uncle Bub on the series "My Three Sons" (which he left in 1965 for health reasons).
Who remembers the names of the characters played by Ball and Vance?
The redhead was Lucy Carmichael and her sidekick was Vivian Bagley.
* If you are not entirely weary of Oriole Park at Camden Yards coverage by 7:30 tonight, note that the syndicated series "Entertainment Tonight," at 7:30 on WJZ-Channel 13, includes a tour of the ballpark led by Bird great Jim Palmer.
* Cable's CNBC service launches tonight a week-long crime prevention program.
"It Takes a Thief," at 7:30 p.m. through Friday (with a 9:30 repeat each night), includes convicted thieves telling viewers how to thwart criminals like themselves. Janice Lieberman is the host, with consumer advocate David Horowitz.
* "A winning strategy of counterprogramming major sporting events" is what NBC calls its movie series adapting the works of best-selling novelist Danielle Steel, which rises to six films with tonight's "Danielle Steel's 'Secrets' " (at 9 o'clock, WMAR-Channel 2). Christopher Plummer, Stephanie Beacham and Gary Collins star in the glamorous world of Hollywood.
The sports event being counter-programmed? You're no roundball fan if you don't know about the championship game of the "NCAA Basketball Tournament," at 9 p.m. on CBS (WBAL-Channel 11).
* Viewers for Quality Television, the Virginia-based advocacy organization, has launched a campaign to help save the ABC series "Life Goes On" (seen at 7 p.m. Sundays on WJZ-Channel 13).
The series, which features a character with Down syndrome (played by an actor with the birth condition, Chris Burke) may be in danger of cancellation, says VQT president Dorothy Swanson. ABC has announced a news magazine show will air next fall in the "Life Goes On" Sunday slot, with no word yet on whether the family drama will be continued.
Too bad. Now in its third season, the show has grown far beyond its initial focus on the Down syndrome issue to become TV's most realistic depiction of family life in America.